Friday, April 15, 2011

Tips to Stay on Track & Achieve the Writing Dream

A writing career means strapping on your courage and going into a series of battles every day.

1. Writing the book/story.
2. Revising.
3. Sending your baby out into the world.

You have to have absolute faith in yourself and your work because there are no guaranteed outcomes. And that can be hard, because fear is more than willing to ride up & keep you company. So here are some tips to keep on track:

Set achievable goals --and meet them. For example, 3 pages a day is achievable for most people, but some people can write almost 2,000-plus words daily. Know yourself and set goals that fit you.

Let go of the negative and accept a positive attitude --I can do It! Believe in yourself.

Allow yourself to write a crappy first draft. You can fix it later. This gem is oft repeated by many authors and remains true.

Evaluate your critiques and rejections.Seek patterns that teach you about where you are as a writer and help you grow.

Take small steps and advance -- writing groups, contests, writing classes.

Ask yourself what you want? How can you make it happen? Then do one little thing everyday from that list.

Most important: Celebrate your achievements! And that includes rejections, because each and everyone of those is a sign that you are taking action.

Books I've found useful:

Noah Lukeman THE FIRST FIVE PAGES

Stephen King ON WRITING

Christopher Vogler THE WRITER'S JOURNEY (actually, I prefer Joseph Campbell, but many folks swear by Vogler, so I'm including it)

Donald Maass WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, THE FIRE IN FICTION

James Frey HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL

Robert McKee STORY

Blake Snyder SAVE THE CAT!

Anne Lamott BIRD BY BIRD

Dwight Swain TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER

James Scott Bell REVISION AND SELF-EDITING, and PLOT AND STRUCTURE

Some very useful blogs that teach you the business & the craft:

Alexandra Sokoloff's blog

Pub Rants


Enjoy!

7 comments:

Kat Jones said...

These are all good points, especially celebrating the small accomplishments. Sometimes I'm so busy looking at the "big picture", I have to remind myself that I'm doing okay and am meeting goals.

Thanks for the recommendations too! I'm reading The Art of War for Writers by Bell right now & it's good.

Rashda said...

Thanks Kat for visiting! You're right, it's easy to get distracted --and sometimes overwhelmed--by the big picture.

Adding Art of War for Writers to my TBR pile!

Carla Swafford said...

I had the pleasure of being in one of Donald Maas's workshops at National last year and the man knows his stuff. I got his book (WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL) and need to read it again.

I sure wish he was my agent (if I had one). Plus he's not hard on the eyes.

Heather said...

Great advice! I appreciate the book recommendations.

M.V.Freeman said...

Is it wrong of me to be thrilled that I have five of those books?
I'm going to dive into James Scott Bell's revision book soon.

You made some great points and reminders to keep putting one word in front of the other.

I copied this post, and I am putting it up on my wall next to my computer. To remind me to keep my goals and move forward.

(I read the Art of War for Writers---worth the read and I am going to go back and re-read here again soon. I liked it that much)

Rashda said...

I really appreciate the visits & feedback y'all. Got busy watching the wild fire situation in W. TX and couldn't check back until now.

@M.V. I'm honored that you liked my post enough to save it.:)

@Carla: Yes, he is easy on the eyes. And I love everything that comes out of his mouth...words, people, words! :)

Lexi said...

Good advice, Rashda. It's important to enjoy the journey and celebrate it!